Pergo laminate flooring is often touted as being harder than hardwood, and if that's true, it's the finish that makes it that way. The wear layer of Pergo, which is the clear coat of finish that covers the printed pattern, is a baked-on plastic that often contains aluminum oxide for extra durability. It's scratch-resistant and designed to maintain its luster for years.
So why would you have to shine a Pergo floor? The answer is, you don't. All you have to do is keep it clean, and cleaning Pergo floors is easy, especially if you use Pergo floor cleaner or another product designed for laminate flooring.
Waxing and Polishing Pergo Flooring Isn't Recommended
The care and maintenance page of the Pergo website recommends against waxing, and you'll get the same advice from resellers and laminate floor care experts. There are two good reasons for this. The first is that wax makes the super-hard surface dangerously slippery. The second is that wax – and even your homemade laminate floor polish – may look good when you first apply them, but they turn dull and will need to be removed.
Wax or floor polish may add an extra layer of protection to a hardwood floor with a conventional polyurethane finish, but this extra protection isn't needed on Pergo laminate flooring. The surface isn't wood; it's a layer of plastic covering a photographic image of wood, tiles or some other material. When the wax inevitably dulls and starts collecting dirt, you or someone you hire will spend an unpleasant day rubbing it off with mineral spirits, and that's a job you don't need to do because you didn't need the wax in the first place.
The Recommended Method for Cleaning Pergo Floors
Pergo and similar laminate flooring has a hard finish, but it isn't completely impervious to scratches, so it's important to clean off dirt periodically to prevent it from being ground into the surface by foot traffic. Pergo's recommendations are to:
- Wipe and dust with a clean cotton cloth.
- Vacuum with a hard floor attachment that doesn't include a rotary brush.
- Mop occasionally with a damp microfiber mop and a solution of 1 cup vinegar per gallon of water. If you prefer a laminate floor cleaner without vinegar, mix 1/3 cup ammonia per gallon of water or use a Pergo floor cleaner or hardwood floor cleaner from another company.
Water should never be allowed to pool on the surface of the floor or seep between the planks because the fiberboard core of the flooring can swell if it gets wet. This is why you should never mop with a wet mop — only a damp one. You should also never steam clean Pergo flooring.
How to Restore the Shine to Old Pergo Flooring
As a Pergo floor ages, scratches inevitably accumulate to the point that it becomes impossible to make the floor shine no matter how often you clean it. You can restore the shine by using a laminate floor restoration kit, which comes with a chemical cleaner that etches the existing finish and a clear, aluminum oxide finish that you can apply yourself. Here's how to use it:
- Vacuum the floor and mop it down to remove all the dirt.
- Pour the cleaner/etcher into a paint tray and use a scrubber to work it into the finish. Wipe down the floor with damp rags afterward.
- Rinse the floor with a solution of 1 ounce liquid soap per gallon of water. Wipe the floor dry.
- Apply the restorative finish with a paint pad.
When the finish cures, which takes 24 to 72 hours, the floor will shine like new.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.